Week 8 Picks

Posted: 10/26/2014 by levcohen in Football

I write this post as my early game prediction (Falcons-Lions) starts looking worse than worse; as I start it, it’s 21-3 Falcons. Keep that in mind as I write these predictions and take them with a grain of salt. (Update: the Lions ended up winning 22-21, so I wasn’t so stupid). While next week there are six more teams on BYE, this week just two teams are off for the third consecutive week, which means there will be plenty of action. Besides the Giants and 49ers (and the Broncos, Chargers, Redskins, and Cowboys, all of whom played Thursday or will play tomorrow night), every team is playing this week. The best game? Before the year started, Green Bay-New Orleans would have been a marquee matchup, but with the Saints’ struggles it might not even be one of the best games in the week. Some games to pay attention to this week include Philadelphia-Arizona (a matchup of 5-1 teams), Baltimore-Cincy, and Indy-Pittsburgh. Let’s get to the picks, which will be a little hurried today since I’m in a rush.
BYE teams: 49ers (4-3), Giants (3-4)
*= upset pick

St. Louis Rams (2-4, 2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3, 4-2):
Spread: Chiefs favored by 7.5
Over/under: 44.5
My prediction: The Chiefs are clearly the better team, but I think the Rams have the ability to keep this game close. This has 23-20 written all over it, so I’ll pick the Chiefs to win 23-20.
Chiefs cover

Houston Texans (3-4, 4-3) at Tennessee Titans (2-5, 2-4-1):
Spread: Texans favored by 3.5
Over/under: 43
My prediction: I realize I’m picking a rookie quarterback in his first career game against J.J. Watt. This pick is more about Ryan Fitzpatrick playing as a road favorite than it is about Zach Mettenberger and Watt. Titans win 23-17… Actually, I just can’t pick Mettenberger to win this game against Watt and the Texans’ D, even at home. I’ll take the Texans to win 24-23 with the Titans covering.
Titans cover

Minnesota Vikings (2-5, 3-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5, 2-4):*
Spread: Buccaneers favored by 2.5
Over/under: 43
My prediction: This is a classic game between two bad teams that can conceivably end a number of different ways. Could I see the Buccaneers blowing the Vikings out at home with the aid of two weeks off? Sure I could. I just think it’s less likely than the better team- Minnesota- against a Bucs team that has done nothing at home this year. Vikings win 26-21 in Teddy Bridgewater’s coming out party.
Vikings cover

Seattle Seahawks (3-3, 3-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-3-1, 4-3):
Spread: Seahawks favored by 6
Over/under: 45
My prediction: The spread really shouldn’t be 6. The Seahawks aren’t a good road team, and the Panthers are a decent if not playoff-worthy team. It should probably be closer to a pick’em than it is to a touchdown. With all that said, I’m rolling with the Seahawks again. I just can’t give up on them yet, so I’ll pick Seattle to win 31-17.
Seahawks cover

Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 4-2-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1, 3-3):*
Spread: Ravens favored by 2.5
Over/under: 44.5
My prediction: Yes, the Ravens have looked really good this year, and yes, the Bengals have struggled of late. But remember when Cincinnati was 3-0 and a consensus top-5 team? I’m not so sure they can’t be that team, as long as they get their defense rolling and as long as Giovani Bernard can get the ground game going. At home here, I think the Bengals bounce back against a Baltimore team that is traditionally much better at home than they are on the road. Either way, it’s a pivotal AFC North battle. If the Ravens win, they look like they’ll be well on their way to winning the division. A Bengals win would be their second over Baltimore and would haul them back into the race. I like the Bengals 24-13 as their defense finally turns it around.
Bengals cover

Miami Dolphins (3-3, 3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, 2-5):
Spread: Dolphins favored by 6.5
Over/under: 42
My prediction: This is another game in which the spread is just too high. The Dolphins are playing well since their week five BYE as they were close to a win over Green Bay before destroying the Bears in Chicago. I just think this is going to be a letdown for the Dolphins, who have to play the Chargers next week. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have covered twice in a row and are steadily improving. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars win this game straight up, but either way they should have enough to cover. Dolphins win 17-13.
Jaguars cover

Chicago Bears (3-4, 3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2, 3-4):*
Spread: Patriots favored by 5.5
Over/under: 51.5
My prediction: This has upset written all over it. The Bears are coming off an embarrassing home loss but normally play better on the road, while the Patriots are seemingly en route to another easy AFC East division championship. New England is also pretty banged up right now, while the Bears’ offense is in must-perform territory after reportedly having some issues in the locker room after last week’s loss. I like the Bears 26-24 in an upset.
Bears cover

Buffalo Bills (4-3, 3-4) at New York Jets (1-6, 1-5-1):
Spread: Jets favored by 3
Over/under: 40
My prediction: People clearly aren’t buying the Bills’ 4-3 record, and neither am I. I actually think the Jets have played better of late, and Percy Harvin will play his first game with his new team. I really don’t see the Jets going to 1-7 here and the Bills will take a rightful loss. Jets win 20-13.
Jets cover

Philadelphia Eagles (5-1, 4-2) at Arizona Cardinals (5-1, 4-2):
Spread: Cardinals favored by 1
Over/under: 48
My prediction: The Cardinals should really be favored by more than one. Are they a better team than the Eagles? They sure have looked like it so far this season, and they’re playing at home, where they’ve had great success since Bruce Arians became head coach last season. It should be close, but I like the Cardinals by a touchdown. 30-23.
Cardinals cover

Oakland Raiders (0-6, 3-3) at Cleveland Browns (3-3, 3-1-2):
Spread: Browns favored by 6.5
Over/under: 44
My prediction: In another game between bad games, the Browns should win but the Raiders have shown an ability to keep games close (hence their three covers and zero wins). I like the Browns 21-17.
Raiders cover

Indianapolis Colts (5-2, 6-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3, 3-4):
Spread: Colts favored by 4
Over/under: 48.5
My prediction: The Colts have looked really, really good this season so I’m tempted to take them in a blowout. At the same time, they’ve won five in a row and could easily lose focus. I’ll take Indy because I think they are the superior team, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers pull off the win here. Colts win 27-24.
Steelers cover

Green Bay Packers (5-2, 4-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-4, 2-4):*
Spread: Saints favored by 2.5
Over/under: 54.5
My prediction: The Saints’ homefield advantage is getting way overrated here. How are they favored against a clearly superior Green Bay team? What would the spread be if this game was in Green Bay? Now, usually when there’s a spread that seems off, it ends up coming back to bite you, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Saints win this one. The Packers are the better team, though, and I’m more confident in picking them. Packers win 35-31.
Packers cover

Washington Redskins (2-5, 2-5) at Dallas Cowboys (6-1, 5-2):- Lock
Spread: Cowboys favored by 10
Over/under: 48.5
My prediction: I’m locking this because there’s simply no other game to lock, but I still don’t think the Cowboys deserve to be 10 point favorites. That’s not to say they haven’t looked great this year, because they have. All signs point to a blowout, but I don’t think it will happen. Cowboys win 28-24.
Cowboys cover

Upset picks:
Vikings over Buccaneers
Bengals over Ravens
Bears over Patriots
Packers over Saints

Lock of the week:
Cowboys over Redskins


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